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Today Delta SkyMiles had several announcements that Delta travelers and those who earn Delta SkyMiles will want to read. If you are coming from a perspective of having elite status with Delta, or otherwise have them as your primary program, you will want to really pay close attention to the announcements.
However, for the rest of us who may just have the co-branded Amex or some miles in a Delta account, you only really need to focus in on a couple of the announcements. If you fall into that category, this is the post for you (though I will at least briefly cover all the announcements).
Delta Award Prices to Become More Dynamic for Travel on or after June 1, 2016
Delta already has a pretty dynamic pricing system and no published award chart, so this is hardly a shocking or bold move, but they are outright announcing more dynamic pricing effective next summer. Specifically, they have announced that the number of miles needed for an award will change based on destination, demand and other dynamics. However, they also say that most award prices will remain unchanged. This sounds exactly like the way that Southwest handled their move to more dynamic pricing earlier this year.
They do specifically call out that the number of miles needed to upgrade under the Mileage Upgrade Award program will increase, and they will expand the eligible types of fares. You can learn more about Mileage Upgrade Award changes here: http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_…de-awards.html
I did some searches today for flights after June 1, 2016, and didn’t immediately find anything obvious that differentiates the pricing on those flights from flights before June 1st but that may change over time.
Emphasis on 7,500 Mile Award Flights:
Delta highlighted that they have some one-way awards available for just 7,500 miles through February 2016. I have personally come across lots of 10,000 mile one-way awards, too, so the old standard of the 12,500 mile award really is somewhat gone, though not always in a bad way. They do offer a reminder that to find the best availability and deals, search at least 21 days prior to departure and use the Award Calendar by selecting “flexible days” when searching for a flight. For more information visit: http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_…tml?icid=FS_US
Changes to Elite Upgrades and Medallion Qualifying Dollars:
Beginning July 21, 2015, Diamond and Platinum elite members will be able to use Regional Upgrade Certificates in addition to Global Upgrade Certificates for a Delta One™ seat on eligible transcontinental flights between New York – JFK and Los Angeles – LAX or San Francisco – SFO. This is mostly an improvement for those elite travelers who want to be able to secure an upgrade on that route. It is also similar to how United handles upgrade instruments on transcon routes.
Also beginning on July 21, 2015, you can earn MQDs (elite qualifying dollars) and miles when purchasing Preferred Seats, Delta Comfort+, and paid upgrades to the Premium cabin. That’s a good change for those counting on those qualifying dollars to hit elite status.
Delta also reinforced that you can now book awards with 22 total partners on their website, and they are working to include more.
What Today’s Delta Announcements Mean For You
Since I am not a regular Delta traveler, my main takeaways from today’s announcements are two-fold. First, they are basically giving a formal warning that dynamic pricing where an award costs whatever the heck they say it costs will become more prevalent for flights starting next summer. I don’t like that sort of uncertainty when it comes to my miles, so if I were sitting on a big pile of Delta miles, I would not hesitate to spend a good chunk of them before then if the opportunity arises. I’m sure they will still be useful after that time, but I wouldn’t want to be stuck with tons of miles that become potentially costlier to use.
Second, today’s announcements probably just start the clock for when United will basically say the exact same things. So, don’t think that all of this is irrelevant to you just because Delta may not be your primary program.
What are your main takeaways from today’s Delta SkyMiles announcements?